Affordable VS High End Makeup

Since getting into beauty I’ve tried a lot of products ranging from affordable drugstore pieces to higher end designer makeup. As I was curious to see which is better overall in terms of quality, longevity and ease of use, I decided to apply half my face with cheaper makeup and the other half with more pricier products.


In order to get each side of my face as alike as possible, I used similar shades and formulas. On camera you can see slight differences up close but in person you would never know I used different products on each half.


On the affordable side, the products I used were:

Total= £119.66


For the more expensive makeup, I used:

Total= £314.00


Of course I started off with priming my face. The Too Faced Hangover Primer did feel nicer on my skin than the L’Oreal Infallible Primer, it had a nice fruity scent too. On my right side, which is the higher end side, my face felt tackier and seemed a better base for applying foundation.

Affordable 0 – 1 High End


Whilst waiting for the primer to set, I did my eye makeup. For my brows on the affordable side, I used the L’Oreal Brow Artist Pencil which I preferred to the High Definition Pencil. That maybe because I’m so use to using the L’Oreal one that I can manage it better. The pencil felt easier to use and drew in my eyebrows neater.

Affordable 1 – 1 High End

My brows are not symetrical and I’ve been trying to grow and reshape them, so it’s hard not to be biased towards my “good” eyebrow. I did, in fact, enjoy using both the Eylure Brow Amplifier and the Benefit Gimme Brow to keep my brows in place all day. Both of these brow products have featured in recent Monthly Favourite’s posts. The packaging is obviously nicer with Benefit but they both did the job so I’m going to credit each side.

Affordable 2 – 2 High End

For the rest of my eye makeup, the Lancome Hypnose Mascara seemed better than the L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes. My lashes were less clumpy and it didn’t require as many layers to achieve the desired effect.

Affordable 2 – 3 High End

Shockingly, I preferred using the cheaper Zoeva Naturally Yours Palette to the Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics. It was my first time using the Naked Palette so I did bare that in mind when comparing the too. However, the shadows seemed harder to blend and looked a bit patchy, it is quite apparent on the photos. I thought both eyeshadow palettes had great pigmentation but the Naked was a touch more intense. For applying shadow under my eyes, I preferred the Urban Decay Palette but overall I will have to give this point to the Zoeva as the shadows blended like a dream.

Affordable 3 – 3 High End

When it comes to liquid eyeliners, I can be quite fussy. I did a review (click here) on several brands of liquid eyeliners, which featured both the NYX and MAC liners. These are both amazing liquid eyeliners in my opinion, they last all day, easy to use and don’t fade or look patchy. I preferred the end result just ever so slightly more with the MAC Liner just because the tip is narrower so you can get a more defined line. Although, it costs £10.00 more and you only get 0.5ml more of product. I’m undecided, I’ll give both sides a point.

Affordable 4 – 4 High End

Both the foundations I chose to compare were slightly too light on their own so I had to add a darker shade to each. On the affordable side I went with the L’Oreal Infallible Total Cover mixed with Rimmel’s Lasting Perfection and the more expensive, I went with the NARS Longwear Radiant Foundation (for recent review click here) and MAC Studio Fix. I find that foundation is one of the products that the drugstore does so well. I’m going to go with the affordable side for this.

Affordable 5 – 4 High End

Onto concealers, I used the new hyped Make Up Revolution Concealer (for recent review click here) and the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. The MUR Concealer is thicker and the has a large wand applicator, where as the MAC has a squeeze pump applicator. I prefer a wand applicator but I do find the MUR one to be too big. They each brighten my under eyes and provide full coverage. The MUR is £4.00, which is over 4 times cheaper than the MAC concealer at £18.50. However, in MAC’s Concealer you get 9ml of product and the MUR, you only get 3.4ml, which is early 3 times as much product. When you compare the quantity and the price of each, the MUR doesn’t seem so cheap. I am torn, both are great.

Affordable 6 – 5 High End

I used my High Definition Bronzer for the more expensive make up. It was pigmented and blended nicely onto my cheeks. The packaging of this is absolutely stunning, it’s not very compact and is more of a statement piece. Also, the mirror is an added bonus. For the cheaper bronzers, I went with a shade from my NYX Pro Contour and Highlight Palette. I used the light cool toned brown shade which provided me with natural looking sun-kissed cheeks. It blends heavenly and for only £3.50 a refill, this has my heart.

Affordable 7 – 5 High End

Now let’s talk highlighters… I went with the Barry M Chrome Liquid Highlighter (for review click here) and a MAC Strobe Cream for the pricier side. The Barry M Highlighter definitely shown up more, whereas the MAC provided a nice subtle glow. I did prefer the MAC highlighter though as I felt too shiny with the Barry M and more “cakey”.

Affordable 7 – 6 High End


For lipsticks I used L’Oreal’s Eva’s Nude and MAC’s cult favourite, Velvet Teddy. Both are amazingly creamy nude lipsticks with longevity. Just on packaging alone, L’Oreal has knocked this one out of the park. It’s bloody stunning and only £6.99!

Affordable 8 – 6 High End

This feels like it’s turned into a L’Oreal VS MAC makeup battle but I genuinely love both these brands so naturally have a fair amount of products from each of them. On the left side of my lips I wore the L’Oreal Beige A Nu Lip Liner and the right I wore MAC Boldly Bare Lip Liner. Never noticed how similar these two shades were, dupe alert! You can probably tell from the photos, the MAC liner performed better, it went onto my lips smoother and felt easier to apply. The liner also survived much longer.

Affordable 8 – 7 High End


To set each side of my face, I used the E.L.F. Fixing Mist & Setting Spray and the MAC Prep & Prime Spray. I review a bunch of different setting sprays (for review click here) including these two. Both provided my makeup with more staying power. However, the MAC Spray had a lovely fine mist and a nice big bottle so it’s taken this point.

Affordable 8 – 8 High End


To conclude, I think you can get some real gems from both the drugstore and the designer branded makeup. With the higher end price point comes nicer packaging, longevity and other little touches, such as a mirror or a fruity scent. You can almost guarantee the quality, compared to the drugstore which can be a bit hit and miss. However, finding what you like and what works for you will mean you can create a collection of makeup you love, whether it be from the affordable end or the pricier end of the scale.

Personally, I like my makeup stash to have a mixture of both, stunning expensive pieces that make me feel luxurious and special when I wear them and affordable drugstore pieces that do just as good a job. On a day to day basis I like to stick to more affordable brands as they are cheaper to replace.

I hope you enjoyed this post and all of my ramblings. It feels so long, no wonder I couldn’t finish it in time to put it up yesterday. Which do you prefer, affordable or high end makeup? Thanks for reading XOXO.

There is some affiliate links in this post which means I may get a small commission if you click through and purchase something at no extra cost to you.



  1. March 20, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    Omg! Lancôme mascaras are the best. 🌟 You can build up length and thickness and the lash will remain flexible.❤️🌺

      • March 20, 2018 / 5:47 pm

        Yeah! It’s a ‘buildable’ mascara. I like their silicone mascara wand the best. Bristle brushes are not my thing. ♥️

  2. March 20, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    Amazing blogpost! It is so nice to see that the more expensive make-up doesn’t necessarily have to be the best. Thank you! X

    • March 20, 2018 / 7:26 pm

      Thank you I feel like the drugstore has come along way in recent years you can get some great stuff 😊x

  3. March 20, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    This was an interesting post, they sort of both came out winners for their own reasons. I have always believed in mixing drugstore/affordable makeup with high end. I haven’t done full face regularly for years, but it is nice to see that the drugstore/affordable items have caught up with the high end trends.

    • March 21, 2018 / 6:20 pm

      I agree the drugstore has come along way from when I first started wearing makeup. 😊x

    • March 23, 2018 / 7:24 pm

      Thank you, it has made me look at the affordable makeup in a better light 💓